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Where does it all end? -- An IDPA quandry....

Discussion in 'General Competition' started by Spike52, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Spike52


    Mar 18, 2012
    Takes me forever, seems like, to settle on a gun. I guess it's because I work hard for my dollars and when I'm about to drop 5, 6 hundred bones on something, it's kind of a big deal... Maybe some of you can identify.

    A little something, by the way, I just realized, that in a culture of buyers remorse without consequences, I cannot simply bring back in the box for my money back because I decided it was a really bad idea... but that's another rant.

    As it turns out, I couldn't be more delighted with my G19.

    I couldn't be more delighted, except for the fact that Glocks seem to contain the same chemical as Lays potato chips... I now have a serious problem.

    I've long been intrigued by IDPA, but am only now finding the opportunity to participate. A friend had kindly taken me under his wing to mentor me through the process.

    My thought was to outfit the 19 with holster, double mag holder, and belt. That should be sufficient, as a fledgling IDPAer, to cut my teeth and learn the ropes. It's alter identity (again, the precious dollars -- always looking for dual purpose) will be as my regular carry. I'm all but totally sold on a kydex product. (As a dual purpose to this thread, any suggestions on carry/comp gear will be welcome. My IDPA friend likes BladeTech.)

    I quickly realized that the lone G19 would not be enough for my little venture. For the sake of simplification, we can identify this realization with roughly the same time stamp as the moment I brought my 19 home. It felt good. Really good. But not perfect. Not imperfect in the sense of being wrong in any way, but imperfect in the sense that one is not quite whole without their soulmate. I simply hadn't bought enough Glock. I would need to remedy this. And quickly.

    ... Alas, they don't give the things away for free. The G19 will have to do for now. (Just for now.) The question is, What next?

    Almost instantly, in that magical moment of realization, I decided I would need a G17. (Bit of a 9mm fan, incedentally, and will almost certainly stick with that chambering.)

    I suppose what I'm really looking for is a reasoned discussion on why I would select one over the other between the basic G17 and G34. (If you happen to be of this bent, btw, if the Glock 34 is sexy, the Glock 17L is Cameron Diaz in high heels. Too bad it's not legal for IDPA. But then, Cameron never calls, either.)

    What say you? 17 or 34 for IDPA, and why?

    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    You really ought to start out with the G19 you already have.
    That said, the G34 wins on points. It has a longer sight radius and forward balance. It comes with extended slide release, magazine catch, and 3.5 connector you would have to pay to add to a G17. It has a much higher representation at the Nationals and other sanctioned matches.
    BUT there are a few people who just prefer the handling of the G17.

    So, while you are shooting your G19, get acquainted with people and somebody will let you try the other models. Then you can make an INFORMED decision instead of asking strangers on the internet.

  3. mingaa


    Dec 3, 2011
    St. Louis, MO
    Get a basic belt that you can afford (uncle mikes?), a holster that YOU like and learn the sport shooting the 19. Goal on day 1 is to be a good listener, take rookie walk through if offered, let officials know that you are new - the buddy system can help a lot if you have a friend already competing. Also be aware of any DSQ rules (you want to finish the day and good clubs will give added attention to noobs when possible), do not worry about where you will place on the day. If you do not embarrass yourself and do not finish DFL you have had a good day!! I'm speaking from experience having been involved in a number of club sports involving cars, motorcycles, guns, bicycles etc. Not trying to be an ass but telling it straight. Many of these sports can involve serious money. The best approach for me has always been to watch the winners, make friends, read and make changes when you know what to change and why. Make large investments once you know the sport well and are committed to staying with it.

    BTW I have more trophies from SCCA events driving my Dodge Neon (a well set up ACR model) than anything else. Win the class-get the glass! That group also includes 'most improved driver of the year'.

    *steps off soap box*
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2012
  4. frankt


    May 9, 2005
    I agree, shoot the G19 for a year or so and then decide. I started with a G19 because that is what I had and after about eight months I bought a G34 as it is a great gun for IDPA.

    I also took some defensive pistol courses and the G34 worked well for that also.

    It is also a case of the "Indian not the arrow", a gun will help but it cannot overcome talent.
  5. waktasz

    waktasz Gamer Scumbag

    Aug 10, 2002
    Philly Area

    More versatile among the other shooting sports as well as IDPA...although if you don't reload stick with the 34.
  6. Spike52


    Mar 18, 2012
    Yes, of course. I'll begin with, quite literally, what I carry. Leather IWB, single extra mag holder. Not ideal for IDPA, but certainly in the spirit of the association.

    My thoughts were similar to yours on the 34 v 17 question. And I do have every intention of getting some first hand, in person insight. I've handled both, but not yet shot them. Perhaps I'll have the opportunity next month. (Ive at least been already invited to shoot a 35.)

    I was leaning heavily to the 34 already, just based on feature lineup alone, but was curious if there were any reasons I hadn't thought of that one might select a 17 instead. Thought I'd post the question here -- Was that a mistake?


    Thanks for shootin me straight, mingaa, I appreciate that. I will be taking it slowly, absorbing some blocks of instruction. Next month I'll be observing. I may not actually shoot until May. We'll see. In the mean time, I'll be reading the handbook and practicing just static shooting, grip, breathing, stance, etc. The basics.

    I'm looking forward to it. Should be a lot of fun.


    Great point, frankt! I'm not going to think I can go out and beat Tiger just because my clubs cost more. That would be silly.

    No, I got the 19 and will confess to getting bit by the Glock bug. It's a great gun, but it will be my regular carry. As such, I've made the command decision to leave it bone stock. (That should incite some comment) For that reason, I'd like a full frame to dial in with mods.

    It seems the consensus is for the 34 (or 35 ;) )

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  7. Spike52


    Mar 18, 2012
    I did find a reason a person might select a 17 over a 34: You run across a good deal on a used 17.

    Spied a 1st gen 17 yesterday. Extended slide lock & mag release. 4.5# disconnect (plus trigger nicely smoothed by use). Steel guiderod. Adjustable nightsights. Handall fingergroove slipon.

    Thinking about making an offer. If he bites on $400 OTD, might just call it a score...

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  8. Schrag4


    May 21, 2010
    Wichita, KS
    I'm fairly new to IDPA, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. My opinion is that it depends on why you're shooting IDPA. If you're wanting to get better with your carry gun, use the G19. After all, isn't that the spirit of the sport? To compete with the same gear you carry? Would you really carry a G34?

    Sometimes I use my G22 for IDPA, mainly because that's the gun I'd grab in the middle of the night. Does the extra recoil hurt my score? Sure, a little, but I don't care. IDPA is fun whether you win or not, and it's good practice with the gear I would use to defend myself and my family.

    Just my 0.02
  9. Spike52


    Mar 18, 2012
    Hey, thanks for your input, Shrag! Good to hear from another IDPA noob (although I flatter myself with the title -- I'm less than a noob yet).

    You know, I'd hoped to have some fun, meet some good, normal gun folk, and acquire some skill that might carry over to my regular carry methods.

    From what I've seen, IDPA can get a little outside the box of what I'd personally regard as regular carry gear... Not that there aren't some who would normally carry a G34 in a kydex competition rig!... But I doubt I would. And that mindset may well change. I don't know.

    It is a shooting game, after all, not pure defensive training. That's just my perception right now... A lot of things are going through my head. I certainly don't minimize the possibilities for great benefit to my actual, real life defensive skills.

    It's interesting. I might say the same to any one of so many who ask these days about practicing "defensive pistol" with a .22... True enough, trigger time is trigger time. But, IMHO, a .22, as much fun as it is (and as attractive the operation costs), is no substitution for you c/f handgun. Likewise, simple, static target practice is, for me, woefully inadequate to sharpening my d/p skills. I think maybe the difference between the G19 and a 17 or 34 might narrow that gap a little.

    As Jim wisely stated, in the dirt, with gun and noise, under mentorship and guidance of friends, listening and observing, is where many questions will be answered.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  10. tango44


    Jun 16, 2005
    Miami Florida
    IDPA main idea is recreate defensive scenarios! make no sense to me use a pistol that I don't carry.
    G19 is my choice.
  11. jkm


    May 21, 2011
    I understand wanting to own more than one gun, but I've never understood why anyone would compete with a gun, other than their carry gun.
  12. waktasz

    waktasz Gamer Scumbag

    Aug 10, 2002
    Philly Area
    Because it's fun?
  13. blueorb


    Nov 15, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    Because IDPA has long since stopped being about 'shooting what you carry'. It is a game and, as such, it gets gamed. It you enjoy finishing at or near the bottom of the results page, and are truly shooting it just for fun and to get practice with your carry equipment, then have at it. It's the perfect sport to practice "real-world" like scenarios.
    However, you don't see many production shooters winning with a 19 or 26 or whatever. It's 17's or, more likely, a 34. Just like the CDP shooters that shoot with giant magwells on their single stacks. Ever see anyone conceal carrying a full size 1911 with a magwell? No, cause it's not practical and has nothing at all to do with 'real-world' scenario's. They are gaming to try and win.

    However, with that being said, don't let what other people do have an affect on what you do. If you want to shoot with what you carry then do that and ignore the scores.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  14. Spike52


    Mar 18, 2012
    Wow! Great responses from all perspectives. I'm sure agendas vary for why a person might participate in shooting games. And side effects may abound.

    My philosophy is close to yours, blueorb. It is a game, after all. Yet, I don't discount the benefits to my defensive abilities. The Shoot-Move-Communicate aspect alone should help build muscle memory, desensitize & generally improve my form.... The main objective is as I mentioned, but with an eye to how I might become better prepared for the Gravest Extreme (nods).

    I've heard it said that in a true high stress shooting situation, if your form, stance, sight picture & grip are all perfect... you're doing something wrong.
    That is to say, it's different from a competition... And yet an accomplished ring boxer may fair much better in a street brawl than someone with no fighting skills whatsoever.

    So, while the benefit to using what I carry is clear, I'm not sure I'm convinced that the similar platform of a modestly customized 17 or 34 would ruin me for the 19.

    And to be perfectly honest, yes, I really just want another Glock, too. ;)
  15. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    There are two reasons to shoot IDPA matches, and they are not generally compatable.

    The first is to win. If this is your reason for competing, get the Glock 34. Get the trigger slicked up, get some better sights on it, get an OWB holster, and then play the game.

    The second reason is to practice. IDPA (and all other competitions) do teach some bad habits tactically, but are a good excuse to put rounds through your carry gun with a little added stress. If this is your goal, carry a 17 or 19 and compete with your carry gun.
  16. Spike52


    Mar 18, 2012
    Very good point, PG. I would imagine it an important point to remember, when developing into a reasonably good IDPA shooter, lest one should fall into the trap of thinking you are the badest mutha in the valley with a fistgun, tactically speaking.

    Yes, it will be an excuse to practice and to shoot. Trigger time is trigger time, and I think it might be helpful. I will try to stay alert to bad habits (I'm sure I have plenty already! Lol)

    Obviously, I am not all wound up about the competition yet, but I'd imagine, as I begin to gain some proficiency, the fun of suddenly realizing I'm placing respectable scores here and there will enter into it. I can hope.

    I will, in fact, begin with the 19 in IWB leather. I'm in no big hurry to rush out and buy a lot of expensive gear just yet (although a new 34 is alluring :) ). Let's just see if I take to the whole process, and it to me, hm?
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012
  17. samuse


    Jul 30, 2008
    South TX
    Shoot the 19. I shoot a 19 in IDPA, USPSA, Steel Challenge, some rougue matches, and training classes.

    I train with and carry a 19 exclusively and have for the better part of 10 years.

    I honestly think I may shoot the 17 better than the 19, but I enjoy shooting the 19 more for some reason.

    I have owned and shot the 34 and 17L quite a bit and I thought they felt too clunk-clunky and sluggish. The sight radius difference didn't do anything for me. The 3.5lb connector sucked for me. I prefer a stock 19 with Ameriglo DeFoor sights.
  18. jkm


    May 21, 2011
    I had heard IDPA was a 'carry what you brought' kind of competition. I didn't know that it had turned into a 'gamer' sort of thing. I'm sorry to hear that it did.
    But, it does come down to what Spike wants to get out of it. And there's nothing wrong with picking up another gun. And perhaps he could use both and shoot different classes?...
  19. Spike52


    Mar 18, 2012
    Hello jkm,

    If it alleviates your sorrow at all, it's my impression that IDPA has a Run-what-ya-brung focus as well.

    I'll want to be careful with my opinions, since I'm not a member yet, but I am a card-carrying member of the human race and it seems anything that carries a 'score' can run to a competitive flavor.

    It may not be a bad thing, if it retains its original objectives (whatever those are -- but I can guess). Scoring can simply drive us to be the best of a particular group, or to our personal best.

    I've found that one of the best ways to get better at something is to surround yourself with people who are better than you. Raise the bar. Stretch yourself. Compete. It's a symbiotic relationship.

    To address your second comment: Yes! I wonder if my 19 might fall into some other class -- BUG perhaps? How can I pass up an opportunity that suggests, Oh, you need a new gun! ;)
  20. jkm


    May 21, 2011
    Spike - All good points. I've wanted to try IDPA for a couple of years, but still haven't. The only thing I know about it is what I read, and every so often, someone will post a link to some IDPA stages on youtube.
    Years ago, I shot USPSA. At the last match I attended, two shooters showed up wearing baseball spikes and knee pads. Being a 'purist', the very sight disheartened me to the point that I never attended another USPSA event.
    Anytime I hear the word 'game', my mind goes back to that day.
    One of these times, I've gotta get to an IDPA match and check it out.
    Good luck with the new gun and IDPA....